Wednesday, November 28, 2012
While others rose early (or never went to bed) after Thanksgiving, we opted to sleep until we felt rested, made a light brunch and enjoyed a quiet morning. Later, our 3 eldest kids and our nephew joined us, bringing their families with them and helped pack sandwiches, snacks and several thermoses of cocoa and coffee to take on our expedition.
The guys found a couple of bow saws and some limb loppers, I made sure I had some work gloves, and we were off! We headed up into the mountains to look for our Christmas trees. What a wonderful way to spend the day! No lines, no traffic, no competition with angry shoppers--just fresh air and family fun.
We stopped a few times to scout an area and the men conferred while the ladies checked out the trees. The kids and dogs were happy to be able to run around for a bit.
We eventually found the right area and let the kids out of the vehicles. DS1 loves climbing rocks and quickly found some. He must have had 6 kids scrambling up behind him.
We built up a little campfire to warm up to and took turns tending it and watching the little ones and drinking hot chocolate.
We found nice trees for everyone and made some sweet memories~
I have much to be thankful for--
Saturday, September 22, 2012
Ever since I got married in 1974, I've been interested in doing things the old-fashioned way. I like the idea (if not all the work) of growing one's own food and living without dependence upon the grocery store or the power company. Over the years, we've raised beef, pigs, goats, sheep and rabbits for meat, chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese for meat and eggs, grown our own organic gardens, smoked, canned and dehydrated our home-produced food, and played with alternative energy sources. Some of these projects were very enjoyable and others not so much. While we like the idea of doing things ourselves, the motivation isn't there to put in all that work anymore.
A few years ago, we moved to an area near the north coast of California where many of our neighbors introduced us to home-canned fish--albacore, in particular. We learned that one can purchase fresh-caught tuna right off the fishing boats and have it cleaned for a reasonable fee. (Reasonable to ME because I don't have to clean it!) This is the best-tasting tuna we've eaten and none of my kids will eat store-bought any more. We always watch for the signs in town advertising a fresh catch when our supply of canned tuna gets low. This week, we scored!
The whole family and a couple of neighbors went together to buy tuna and yesterday was canning day at my house. Here are a few pictures of the process. Mind you, we aren't looking our best because we are dressed in old clothes that can be tossed afterwards. The smell doesn't always come out of the clothes~
This is a photo of the last of three ice chests full of bags of fish. The next one is a sinkful of fillets waiting to be washed and cut up.
I cut up the fish and granddaughter, Katherin, stuffed the jars while daughter, Jenny (the only one with clean hands) put the lids on and loaded the pressure canners. Jenny also had the honor of answering the phone and scratching our noses!
Once we had all the jars filled, we took a break while the canners did their thing.
Here we are about halfway done. There are about this many jars cooking and this many cooling, with more waiting to go into the canners~
The last cooks standing! Jenny has gone home and Katherin is on her way. We still have a few dozen jars cooling, but these are done and ready to store! Whew!
We will be enjoying this for quite a while and while the tuna is delightful, the best part of the whole experience is sharing it with the kids and passing it on to the next generation.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
That's kind of a mantra around my house and I take a lot of ribbing from my kids for it. I'm known as the woman with the matching set of yogurt cup drinking cups, the matching cool whip salad bowls, and the never-die ziplock sandwich bags. Yes, I wash the bags and reuse them. I just cannot make myself toss out something that's perfectly use-able...for something...someday.
Well, as much as my adult kids poke fun at me, they've each inherited the gene (or the disorder) and reveal it in various ways. Earlier this summer, my eldest daughter suggested making skirts from old t-shirts. She had seen a pattern online and thought it was a cute idea--so we did one.
Then we changed some things and did a few more...
Then I decided to use the sleeves and some scraps to make little skirts..
With each new skirt, Jenny or I would come up with something different to try, and we soon had to go foraging through the thrift stores for more shirts since we'd used all of ours. Members of my Spark team wished they could clean out their closets and send me more t-shirts and one lovely friend (INDIANOAKS) actually did! My dining room table became Jen's palette for mixing and matching,
and we set up the folding table for her to dissect the shirts and piece together the sections.
We're planning to have a booth at a local craft fair this Fall. I sure hope we can sell some skirts, or guess what everyone is getting for Christmas?
Sunday, December 25, 2011
We celebrated DH's birthday yesterday afternoon and then began our whole-family Christmas celebration. I gathered all the kids and my son-in-law for a red-flannel picture. I just wanted to show all my friends the results of my many days of sewing.
Today we're gathered again for games, movies and "Just Dance" on the Wii.
Merry Christmas friends!
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